The Importance of Providing Children With Positive Reinforcement

Everyone likes hearing they’ve done a great job, as this type of feedback often helps to motivate us even further. With children and teens still in a developmental phase, praise is more important than ever! Here is Tutor Doctor’s advice surrounding the importance of providing children with positive reinforcement.

The growth mindset. We’ve talked about encouraging a growth mindset many times in our blogs, and for good reason! When a person has a growth mindset, they have confidence in their own abilities to succeed – even if this means overcoming obstacles and managing setbacks along the way. Positive reinforcement goes hand in hand with encouraging a growth mindset, as students who have self-confidence are able to develop resilience and perseverance while working towards their goals. To learn more about the importance of developing a growth mindset for children, check out our blog on the topic!

Seeing failure in a positive light. Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to remind children that mistakes can be a good thing. By reframing setbacks in a positive light, we learn what to do differently next time as well as how to change our approach for better results. If your child has a setback, try using positive reinforcement to illustrate the greater learning experience at hand. We love colorful examples at Tutor Doctor, so here’s a hypothetical situation!

  • Let’s say your teen has decided to try their hand in the kitchen and sets out to make a batch of cookies. You hear the kitchen timer “beep” and the sound of your child removing the baking tray from the oven. A few minutes later, you walk into the kitchen, only to see a cookie with one bite taken out of it sitting on the counter and your teen with a frown on their face. You ask, “What’s wrong?” to which your child responds, “I mixed up the teaspoon with the tablespoon when measuring my ingredients, and now the cookies taste bad. I’m a terrible baker.” A good way to approach this situation would be to challenge your child’s self-criticism while reframing the setback in a positive light. You might say, “You did a great job for your first time! Baking has a lot of steps and can be tricky, but you successfully managed to gather all your ingredients, form the dough, and prep the oven all on your own. You should be proud of yourself! Besides, mixing up a teaspoon and a tablespoon is one of the oldest kitchen mistakes in the book – we’ve all done it! And from now on, I’m sure you’ll be extra careful when measuring your ingredients. I bet next time they’ll be delicious!”

This scenario is obviously a bit theatrical, but it’s a fun way to illustrate how a negative situation can be reframed in a positive light with praise and reinforcement! In the long term, positive reinforcement will help your child to show a deeper appreciation for learning while making their own personal goals known. We discuss this more on our blog about helping your child stand out – check it out here!